This week I’ve got a special treat for anyone suffering from a stiff neck, shoulders or upper back. Which, let’s be honest, is most of us at one point or another.
Whether it’s from spending eight plus hours a day at a desk, doing a great deal of driving, lifting weights, or carrying young children around, we need to give these areas a little tender love and care to help them relax.
Get rid of nasty knots in your upper back and increase flexibility in your spine and shoulders with these five yoga poses!
You can see them flushed out as part of a full 30 minute sequence in my latest video, Upper Body TLC Yoga Class.
You will want to have two blocks handy, and a strap if your upper back and shoulders are particularly tight.
1. Seated shoulder stretch
Sitting comfortably cross-legged on your mat, drop the right ear to your shoulder, walking your left fingertips out to the side. Reaching the right hand to rest on the left temple, gently pull the left ear away from the shoulder. Take 10 steady breaths. Roll the chin down to look towards the right shoulder, while breathing into the upper back and side of neck. Use your hand to guide the head back to neutral, then repeat on the other side.
2. Puppy pose
Place two blocks in front of you, at shoulder width and on the lowest level. With your hips stacked over the knees, bring your elbows onto the blocks. Press your palms together, as you melt the chest to the floor. Bending the elbows, reach your fingers towards the back of the neck. Continue softening into the pose, as you reach your hips back and engage the belly.
3. Thread the needle spinal twist
From table top inhale the right arm to the sky, looking up to inhale. With your exhale release the arm down and under the body. Gently coming to rest with your shoulder and ear on the mat. Reach your left fingertips forward as you focus on breathing into the upper back. Return to table top and repeat on the other side.
4. Ragdoll forward fold
This is a variation on the standard forward fold, which will help you to open up further at the shoulders. Come into a forward fold, take a bend in the knees, and interlace your fingers at the back of the head where the skull and neck meet. Point your elbows to the floor and in line with your jaw, as you let go and hang heavy here.
5. Triangle pose with half bind
Standing at the front of your mat, step the left foot back, pointing the toes out to the side of your mat. With the arms out at shoulder height, begin to slide your right hand down the right leg until you can grab hold of your shin. Raising the left arm up overhead and looking towards it as in the traditional pose is straining on the neck. Instead, drop the right ear to shoulder and take a half bind by bringing the left arm behind your back and reach for the right thigh.
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Yoga with Kassandra – Disclaimer
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